Salt, Potash Terminal at Barcelona Port
The ICL Group's Phoenix Plan is breathing new life into the centuries-old salt and potash mines located in the Bages district of central Catalonia. The project covers various fields, such as building a potash and a vacuum salt plant, new rail accesses and a specialised terminal at the Port of Barcelona. The port terminal, involving a total investment of € 69 million, will enable worldwide exports of potash, a mineral essential for fertilising fields, and high-quality salt especially for the chemical industry, and other sectors.
The new port terminal, which has been put out as a concession to Tráfico de Mercancías, S.A. (TRAM), a subsidiary of ICL Group, will occupy an area of seven hectares on Álvarez de la Campa wharf and will have a 600-metre berthing line with a 14-metre draught for loading ships of up to 60,000 tonnes. The project includes the construction of an office building, two warehouses and an inland rail terminal, with four metric and UIC-gauge tracks, making it possible to position two trains at once. The terminal will have a capacity of four million tonnes a year.
The project will involve an investment of € 57 million, plus VAT, by TRAMER for the basic project, and a further € 12 million by the Port of Barcelona. This second figure corresponds to the refurbishment of the areas in which the infrastructure will be located, particularly for reinforcing the wharf and deepening the draught; extending the railway infrastructure in metric and international gauge up to the future terminal; and refurbishing and developing the road network that will provide access to the facility.
These actions will allow TRAMER, which was already operating in the Port, to unify its traffic in Barcelona and to have new facilities of a sufficient size to service the planned progression of this traffic, which will involve an increase of over 70 % in tonnes of traffic and twice the number of stopovers.
The Phoenix Plan
TRAMER's new terminal is part of the Phoenix Plan rolled out by ICL Group, a global leader in fertiliser manufacture and the sixth potash producer worldwide. The Phoenix Plan, which is the largest industrial project being carried out in Catalonia, aims to provide centralised production of salt and potash from the mines in Sallent and at the Cabanasses plant located in Suria, where a 4.5-kilometre long and 900-metre deep access ramp is being built to the mine. The facilities currently under construction will make it possible to market a million tonnes of potash and one and a half million tonnes of vacuum salt a year.
The Plan, which already involves various investments amounting to € 350 million, is expected to generate an output of over four million tonnes when the Bages facilities are fully operational. This large volume of goods requires efficient intermodal rail, land and sea transport. The Port of Barcelona terminal and the Mediterranean corridor are crucial to ensure the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the company.
The Suria salt mines have existed since the Middle Ages, but industrial mining began only in the early twentieth century. By the end of the century, the mining activity was called into question, particularly because of the environmental problems caused by the waste it generated. ICL is modernising and expanding the old facilities, following strict environmental criteria, to make these Catalan mines among the most modern in the world.